Karen King's Wine Pairings:
Vouvray Sec "Clos du Bourg," Gaston Huet (Loire, France) 1998
Chassagne-Montrachet, Premier Cru, "Champ-Gains," Marc Colin (C™te de Beaune, Burgundy) 1993
A rich Chardonnay, like the Chassagne-Montrachet, works with the sweet pumpkin and butter in the dish, on the like with like principle.

Here is a comforting risotto, perfect for a brisk autumn or winter day. While many recipes for pumpkin risotto call for diced pumpkin simmered in chicken broth, we use a sweet-spiced pumpkin broth to capture the elusive and delicate pumpkin flavor.

Serves 6

For the pumpkin broth:

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves, washed and sliced
  • 1 leek, washed and thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cinnamon stick
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

For the risotto:

  • Ø cup olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 cups diced (1/2 inch) fresh pumpkin, butternut, or other firm-fleshed squash
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6-7 cups pumpkin broth
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 2 cups arugula, washed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup diced fresh mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3/4 ounce)
  • 3 teaspoon butter

In a large saucepan or stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and leek; sautŽ until tender and moist, about 10 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin purŽe and continue cooKKing for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, spices, and maple syrup. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer. To avoid ending up with a thick purŽe rather than a broth, take care not to mash the vegetables through the strainer.

In the same saucepan, heat the pumpkin broth to a simmer.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a separate, 3-quart heavy saucepan or skillet. Toss in the rice and diced pumpkin and stir with a wooden spoon until coated with oil. Add the white wine and stir constantly until all the wine has been absorbed by the rice. Ladle 1/2 cup of hot pumpkin broth into the pan and stir until it is absorbed. Continue with the rest of the broth, adding 1/2 cup at a time and letting each addition be absorbed completely into the rice before adding more liquid. The constant stirring allows the rice to release its starch into the cooKKing liquid, resulting in the characteristic risotto creaminess. The grains of rice should be al dente. Count on approximately 20-25 minutes for the rice to cook.

Finish by stirring in the sage, arugula, mozzarella, salt, pepper, and half the Parmigiano. Swirl in the butter. Spoon into warm bowls, sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano and serve immediately.

Recipe from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook, by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano (HarperCollins, 1994)

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